“ Brand: Analon / Type: Kitchen tools „
I have a set of Sabatier knives which were rather expensive - almost obscenely so, but I do love a good sharp knife. I could wax lyrical, but won't as they are not what I am reviewing here! These knives came complete with a proper sharpening steel with which I have had limited success - well, when I use it the knives do get sharpened, although I'm not 100% sure I'm doing it properly! I do have fun pretending to be a proper cheffy type though ... My husband never really got the hang of the sharpening steel, and it got to the point where he was refusing to use the knives, and starting to hang his nose over knife sharpeners (not literally you understand) so on a recent trip to Lakeland Limited we had a good look at what was on offer, and came away with this, the Universal Sharpener from Anolon. It's a ceramic sharpener, with three grades of grinding wheels. The reason I went for Anolon is because it is a brand I trust when it comes to kitchenware. I have Anolon pans which have served me well, and also Anolon are endorsed by Raymond Blanc - he uses Analon products in his Cookery School. I know this for sure because I went on a one day Cookery Course there, and we definitely used Anolon equipment. I was very impressed by my experience of the Cookery School and would take seriously any product endorsement they make. So, the knife sharpener itself. It's a simple enough gadget. There's a black plastic base containing the three grades of grinding wheels, (pink, white and blue - not sure if this has any meaning or is just to look pretty!), a clear plastic lid with three slots, and an easy to grip handle. You first fill the base with a little water - this keeps the grinding wheels clean, and prevents them from overheating. You then put the lid back on, place the sharpener on a flat surface, hold the handle in one hand and your knife in the other. The slots are labelled 1, 2 and 3 - which you use depends on how dull your knife is. For very dull knives you need to use all three in turn, whereas for the kind of 'after every 3 or 4 uses' maintenance they recommend, only the finest grade grinding wheels are required. If it's not stating the obvious, medium dull knives will need to use two of the slots. To sharpen the knife you place it in the slot (which guides the knife between the grinding wheels) and slide it back and forth about eight times. You then move on to the next slot as necessary. The sharpener can be used on most knives - but not those with serrated edges. After I used the sharpener, the water was looking distinctly murky, so clearly something had happened! Yes - my knives now cut beautifully again; chopping onions is (almost) a pleasure. It's a little bit trial and error of course - the 'eight times' is not an absolute - but I think the key is to use the different grades as recommended, repeat the process if the knife is not as sharp as you'd like, and then to resharpen regularly. It's very easy to rinse the sharpener after use. The instructions contain some useful tips on knife care and some others on knife safety which I would have considered self-evident - e.g. 'never try to catch a falling knife' - if you need to be told that, maybe you shouldn't be handling the knife in the first place? Just a thought. I am really pleased with this gadget. It makes the task of sharpening my super-duper knives so simple that I don't think we'll be having trouble with dull knives again. Well worth the money (we paid in the region of £25) if you have decent knives - especially since blunt knives are really dangerous.